Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected as new Prime Minister of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: With the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) nominee, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been elected as Prime Minister of the country after the failure of the opposition to field a consensus candidate.

Besides Abbasi, three candidates were in the run for the premiership. Given the failure of the opposition to field a joint candidate and the PML-N’s strong majority in the assembly, the election is being seen as rubber stamp affair. PML-N itself has more than the required number of 172 members in the house of 342.

Shahbaz Sharif, the current chief minister of Punjab province, must first enter parliament by contesting the seat left vacant by his elder sibling.

The National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq opened the parliament session on Tuesday afternoon for the vote, with an oath-taking scheduled for the new prime minister by evening.

Pakistan’s constitution requires a candidate for prime minister to win a majority from the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.

PML-N’s ally Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam has announced to back Abbasi whereas Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also withdrew its candidate in favour of the PML-N nominee.

After leader of the opposition Syed Khurshid Shah withdrew his nomination papers, Naveed Qamar of Pakistan Peoples Party, PTI’s nominee Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed , Sahibzada Tariqullah of Jamaat-i-Islami are contesting the election for premiership.

Yesterday, the opposition leader presided over a meeting of the opposition parties to choose a joint candidate to challenge Abbasi but it failed to reach any conclusion.

The meeting was attended by PPP’s Sherry Rehman, PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sheikh Rasheed, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and others. However, representatives of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Awami National Party (ANP) did not take part in the meeting.

PML-N picked Abbasi to lead the government for the interim period until Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is elected from NA-120 constituency to take the reins for the party’s remaining term.

President Mamnoon Hussain has called the session of the assembly for the election of the leader of the house after former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif relinquished the office in the light of Supreme Court judgment in the Panamagate case.

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